Smashed Cucumber Salad + Hot Chili Oil
This crunchy and refreshing Smashed Cucumber Salad is the perfect summer snack or side dish! Add a kick with a drizzle of hot chili oil.
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The Perfect Thing for a Hot Summer Day
Cool and crisp are what come to mind with the mention of cucumber salads—and what better side or snack for a hot summer day?
This recipe amps things up, however. In addition to cool and crisp, we add spicy. Then salty. And of course, a bit of sweet.
If East and Southeast Asian flavors are your jam, add this recipe to your to-make list now.
You will have zero regrets.
But First: What Is Smashed Cucumber Salad?
Smashing cucumbers might seem strange at first, but you’ll soon see that this Chinese method is pure genius. It cracks the skin, separates the seeds from the center, and it breaks the cucumber into spears.
After tearing the spears into glorious bite-sized chunks, the cucumbers are salted and chilled, resulting in the perfect cool and crisp mouthfeel.
Once they’re tossed into the mouthwatering dressing, you may never look at a generic mayo-slathered cucumber salad again.
What to Serve With Smashed Cucumber Salad
- Miso Salmon
- Homemade Ramen Bowls
- Cashew Chicken
- Garlic and Ginger Meatballs
- Sesame Hoisin Chicken Lettuce Cups
Here Are the Ingredients
- Large English cucumbers
- Sea salt
- Rice vinegar
- Low sodium soy sauce
- Toasted sesame oil
- Sesame seeds
- Hot chili oil
How to Make Smashed Cucumber Salad
- Give your cucumbers a good wash and trim off the end pieces.
- Place the cucumbers in front of you horizontally, and cut them into three equal parts. (See photos below.)
- Pop the cucumbers into a large freezer bag and give them a few firm whacks with a rolling pin or meat mallet. The cucumbers will flatten and split naturally into 3-4 spears.
- Remove and discard any of the seeds or mushy bits from the middle of the cucumber that dislodged themselves.
- Tear the cucumber spears into bite-sized chunks and pop them into a colander. Hit them with the salt, toss to coat, and let them stand for 15 minutes.
- While you wait, whisk the vinegar and grated garlic together in a small mixing bowl; let it stand for 5 minutes.
- Once 5 minutes is up, add the soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar into the bowl with the vinegar and garlic; whisk until the sugar has fully dissolved.
- Transfer the cucumbers to a serving bowl and pour the dressing on top.
- Give everything a light toss, then drizzle 1-2 TBSP of the hot chili oil over it, then garnish with toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions.
Useful Tools for This Recipe
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Freezer bags
- Rolling pin or meat mallet
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Small whisk
Recipe Tips + Tricks
- If you love the flavors here but don’t love heat, omit the chili oil completely. Doing so will not ruin this dish at all.
- For the best ingredient quality and selection, hit up a local Asian grocer if you have one around you. Otherwise, you should have luck in the International aisle of your local supermarket. You can also find certain things on Amazon (see ingredients list above).
- Finding toasted sesame oil can be hit or miss; regular sesame oil works just fine.
- To turn this side dish into a light and meatless meal, pair it with this IP Coconut Ginger Rice.
- This will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days in a sealed container; it does not freeze well.
Have You Made This Recipe?
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Other Cooling Summer Salads You’ll Love:
- Cold Sesame Noodle Salad
- Healthy Crab Meat Salad With Lime
- Citrus Avocado and Mackerel Salad
- Crunchy Greek Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Grilled Tuna Steak Salad
Smashed Cucumber Salad + Hot Chili Oil
- 2 large English cucumbers, or 4 medium
- 1.5 tsp sea salt
- 4 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp garlic, grated to a paste
- 1 TBSP low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil regular sesame oil will also work
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 TBSP toasted sesame seeds
- 1-2 TBSP hot chili oil if you prefer no heat, omit the chili oil
- Sliced scallions, for garnish
- Wash the cucumbers; cut off the end pieces.
- Set the cucumbers in front of you horizontally. Cut them into three equal parts.
- Place three parts of the cucumbers into a large freezer bag. Seal the bag, releasing any extra air, and smack the cucumbers firmly with a rolling pin or a meat mallet. The cucumbers will flatten and split into 3-4 spears.
- Discard any of the seeds or mushy bits from the middle of the cucumber.
- With your hands, break the cucumber spears into bite-sized chunks, then place them into a colander. Season them with salt and then, using your hands, toss to coat. Let them stand for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, whisk the vinegar and grated garlic together in a small mixing bowl. Let it stand for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, add soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar in with the vinegar and garlic, then whisk until the sugar has fully dissolved.
- Pop the cucumbers into a large serving bowl; pour the dressing on top.
- Toss the cucumbers enough to coat them in the dressing and then drizzle 1-2 TBSP of the hot chili oil over them. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions.